There are so many interesting angles to the story this week about a case in Tucson, Arizona. The conviction actually went down in March 2007, with Jacob Vincent Green-Bressler, now 21 years old, being one of the 16 individuals who had been indicted in 2005 for trafficking in stolen identities. (See: Global Web Fraud Case has 17 Local Indictments in the Arizona Star, November 8, 2005.
Green-Bressler and company were not identity thieves themselves. They were not putting together phishing sites. They instead served in the role of "cashiers". A "cashier" in the Identity Theft business is someone who is willing to perform the risky role of converting the stolen identity information into an ATM Card and using that counterfeit card to drain a bank account.
During their time of activity, Jacob's gang obtained identities for 4,500 individuals from criminal conspirators in at least 20 countries, including Vietnam, Pakistan, Jordan, Egypt, the Philippines, Macedonia, Romania, Estonia, Lebanon, Mexico, France and the United Kingdom. They then used those identities to create counterfeit ATM cards which they used to steal and send overseas nearly $300,000 from various banking accounts. As their commission on these services, Jacob and friends kept $148,000 -- a 50% commission!
So what does this have to do with the Aggravated Identity Theft Law?
Jacob's original sentence would have been sixty months for his crime, but because of Title 18 section 1028A - the Aggravated Identity Theft Act, a mandatory +2 years is added to the jail time. With criminals getting so many light sentences for cyber crimes, its nice to see someone getting the Extra Two.
That's one of the reasons the Attorney General supported this act back in 2002. See this Congressional Testimony from Dan Collins, the Chief Privacy Officer of the US Department of Justice at the time. S.2541, the "Identity Theft Penalty Enforcement Act" was a good idea, and one that should be used more often in the courts.
The full list of defendants in this case:
Robbin Shea Brown, 24
Jacob Vincent Green-Bressler, 19
Joshua Trever Lee Breshears, 20
David Lee Merrill, 25
Corrine Dazette Perez, 24
Richard Daniel Staton, 24
Rollin Edward Vaughn II, 23
Randi Michelle Rodela, 20
Joseph David Wallum, 20
Joseph Robert Jando, 21
Martin Corey Halula, 19
James Dennis Olsen, 19
Steven Don Olsen, 23
Christopher James Griffin, 23
Daniel Roy Leon Mendez, 20
Robin Duane Brown, 52
Ana Marie Honeycutt, 32
(See: http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/az/press_releases/2005/2005-199(Brown%20etal).pdf )
I look forward to seeing how many of the others also get a taste of the Aggravated Identity Theft penalties!